Have we become a nation that has been robbed of its essence? Or soul? Have we lost our guts? On the contrary. In fact, we are beginning, as a sovereign nation, to regain our essence, soul and guts that we lost during the previous regime. Every issue and problem that Pak Lah is doing his level best to negotiate and manage stems from the legacy left behind by the previous regime.
Quite naturally, the seeds of any issue and problem must have been sowed at some point in time. They take time to germinate and rear their ugly head. And practically every seed of discontent was sowed during the previous regime. Here is a list of excesses that took place then, which incidentally, if detailed at length will make a bestseller entitled The Mahathir Legacy.
- Two decades of iron-fisted rule that stifled dissent and now the principal architect says 'I can say what I want' because he is not in office. Isn't that hypocritical?
- Abject abuse in the conception and awarding of contracts. The lack of any semblance of transparency indicates that there was much more to hide.
- The imprisonment and abuse of Anwar Ibrahim. If he was subject to beatings and torture, then what justice can the average Malaysian expect?
- A Machiavellian approach in managing the police force. Let them have lower salaries and minimal benefits, so they will be corrupt to make ends meet. Then close an eye to their misdeeds, allow them to run helter-skelter, terrorise the people, beat them up, strip them and abuse them so Mahathir can just do what he wants and ensure that they do his bidding as he pleases. Give and take he did with the police force to keep the people in check.
- An education system that sidelined the English language, and the principal architect of the previous regime emphasises on its importance just about the time he leaves office.
- Racial polarisation at its height, what else when one perpetuates Malay domination at all times which only sows the seeds of discontent and fuels xenophobia. Divide-and rule-strategy it was. Not to mention the constant reminders about 'May 13' during elections.
- Religious intolerance that is shocking.
- Toll rates just go up and now the principal architect of the previous regime says gasoline prices need not increase.
- A public transport system that is absolutely inefficient causing more traffic jams and mental agony.
- Construction that went ahead unabated and the environment suffers as a result. Our children will pay, sadly.
- An education system that is hardly anywhere near world-class and fears breeding thinkers. Stupid people are fodder for politicians.
- Telcos that charge us sky-high rates and make billions when 'poor' India has a nationwide STD rate of Rs1.00. That's eight sen by the way.
- Water resources that are terribly polluted and we pay the price.
- The protection of companies that hardly deserve any. Proton is a good case in point.
- Expanding housing estates that have poor transport infrastructures. Subang is a good case in point. Try leaving at 7.15am and you are sure to take more than 90 minutes to get into the city.
- Napoleons in public office that don't care a damn about the public.
- The constant stifling and abuse of the press.
- A judiciary that was robbed of its dignity, simply because they wanted to do their job and ensure that justice prevailed.
- And who needs the tallest building when the 'tallest' will never last?
Pak Lah is doing his level best to manage change in the face of enormous criticism and resistance from those who would rather live in the old ways of the previous regime for they stand to gain at the expense of the rakyat.
It is truly Pak Lah who has the guts to stand up, admit that there are problems that concern the rakyat and do the needful to bring about change. He is a true statesman that Malaysia has been waiting for.
Mahathir used the ISA at his whims and fancies. Perhaps he could do with a taste of his own medicine.